The organic sector in Madagascar, like in many parts of the world, is growing rapidly, reaching US$ 110 million organic exports in 2019, compared to US$ 23 million in 2012.
The sector is strongly focused on exports of typical and/or high value products such as spices, fruits and vegetables, essential oils, shrimps, cacao, palm oil, etc.
Building on the impetus of SYMABIO, the national organic sector organization, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, with the support of the World Bank, ensured that the first law on organic agriculture was worked on from 2018 to 2019.
This involved close collaboration with the private sector, producer organizations, NGOs, certification bodies, research institutions, and corresponding Ministries, including the Ministries of Agriculture, Environment, Trade and Health. On behalf of IFOAM – Organics International, I was happy to provide technical support throughout this process.
Commenting on the success SYMABIO President Gaetan Etancelin shared,
As an Organic Union and member of IFOAM – Organics International, SYMABIO has led activities over a number of years advocating to the government for a law on organic agriculture. We are very satisfied with the outcome and want to thank to all the partners involved.
Deep Dive into the Details
The law reflects the strategic ambition of the Madagascar government to support the growth of organic exports, as well as to promote the development of its national organic market. The text contains commitments in favor of organic research, technical support, promotion of organic territories within the country and measures to mitigate chemical contamination of organic value chains.
It also establishes a National Commission on Organic Agriculture, a consultative body representative of private and public stakeholders, who will play a role in the implementation of the national organic law and related programs.
The regulatory approach adopted in the law is designed to ensure organic integrity without hindering sector growth. The law establishes the framework to develop a national organic standard, for use by producers wishing to produce for the local market.
However, it also recognizes the equivalence of other organic standards, particularly those already used for exports, so that the products certified against those standards will continue to be marketable as organic on the domestic market.
Another strength of this organic law is that it encourages the participation of smallholder farmers in the sector by recognizing Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) as a valid means of certification for the domestic market. PGS are expected to be more affordable and appropriate for smallholder farmers targeting consumers in the domestic market, than third party certification.
Next Steps Towards Implementation
In May 2020, the process of developing the law finally concluded, following the adoption of the law n° 10/2019 of November 28, 2019. It was approved unanimously by both the Parliament and the Senate.
The next steps will be the development of complementary legislation, including the national organic standard, and the development of the first national organic strategy for organic agriculture, with its related action plans at national and regional levels. Preparatory work has already started, with capacity building activities for policymakers and stakeholders who will be involved in these processes.
These activities include training on policy support for organic agriculture, conducted by IFOAM – Organics International with the support of GIZ, and a policy exchange mission to Morocco and Tunisia, with the support of the World Bank, GIZ and IFAD.
Adopting pro-organic policies and laws is possible and we should continue to encourage governments to do so. Make use of our Global Policy Toolkit on Public Support to Organic Agriculture, available in several languages, by clicking the button below.